Friday, November 4, 2011

Another prolotherapy review

According to the stats page, my post from February 2010 entitled "2 days after prolotherapy" is my most popular post of this blog. I want to thank all of you for reading it and considering this treatment. Now, nearly 2 years later, despite the fact that I needed more treatments for the hip/groin than anticipated, I still endorse the treatment. When facing an acute athletic injury, prolotherpy is a fairly easy fix. Your time on the sidelines will be greatly reduced especially if the injury is treated early.
What is prolotherapy exactly? You will be examined by a doctor for painful trigger points then stuck with a needle in that painful area and injected with a special solution to promote natural healing rather than mask the pain like NSAIDS or corticosteroid injections. The pain is roughly on the scale of a root canal at the dentist. You will have an inflammatory reaction that can cause you to walk with a limp for 1-2 days but the tissues will be smoother and stronger within 5 days. More information can be found by looking up prolotherpy on google or You Tube. A directory of practitioners can be seen at:
In the winter of 2010, I injured my achilles tendon pretty badly. Those of you that have had this injury will attest that it is a tough one. When you can walk pain free, you think you're recovered but attempting to get out there and run too soon can lead to quick relapses and potentially a chronic problem. In my case, I was pretty much out for the better part of 5 weeks although I did struggle through a few short 2-3 milers while injured. A single shot of prolotherapy and like magic, I was healed within 5 days and it has never bothered me again. A month later, I ran the ING GA half in 1:38 (a respectable time on a hilly course) with no trace of Achilles pain. In October of the same year, I injured my knee so badly that I was walking with a limp a full week after the initial injury. This time, I needed 2 treatments (3 shots total) but once again, I was cured once and for all. Just 5 weeks after my 2nd treatment, I ran the full marathon in Huntsville in 3:43. Without prolotherapy, I would have been out for several months with each injury. With it, I was as good as new within weeks. Some people blame over training for my injury plagued 2010 season. I do not. I blame the chemical imbalances that hindered my connective tissue healing. I have no doubt that if balanced, I can handle 60 MPW during marathon training especially if my training paces are a bit slower.
As for chronic, longstanding, low-grade pain, it gets more complicated. Odds are, you may need upwards of 5-6 treatments about one month apart to get the desired results. You might think that you are in the clear when you are about 80% there but you are likely to relapse. If I do not get the 5-6 treatments now, I could be back in the doctor's office 2-3 times a year indefinitely. Not good.
The best thing to do is to continue to receive treatment until an examination for trigger points causes no pain and reveals no sensitive areas.
I injured my groin BADLY in the fall of '99 and was out for 3 months. Because of the Synthroid and the fact that I was in the early stage of adrenal fatigue, it never healed properly. The pain was usually little more than an annoyance and often disappeared completely after I warmed up. Still, the hip would usually pop and crack when I stretched it and some days were so bad that I could feel pain when coughing or sneezing. Without prolotherapy, I have little doubt that it would have progressed to a chronic problem that significantly hindered my running.
As for potential complications that could limit the effectiveness of the treatment:
The most common problem is hormonal deficiencies, specifically low testosterone. I suspected that because I had adrenal fatigue, I could be low. I am not. Because I developed the disease in my 20s, it did not damage my testosterone production as much as if I was in my 40s or older. Lastly, mineral deficiencies, revealed on a tissue mineral analysis can hinder your progress. The reason is that unbalanced body chemistry will hinder connective tissue healing. When my pills are off, I am abnormally sore and it is often the groin area that is especially bad. However, when I make the needed adjustment, the pain always diminishes so there is no doubt that chemical imbalances are a contributing factor and if I was balanced, the hip/groin issue may not even be there at all. That being said, prolotherapy has always helped no matter how unbalanced I am and again, it likely prevented me from developing a debilitating condition. I wish it were easier and less costly to treat long standing injuries but I can't think of anything more effective than prolo.
I see Dr. Mark Johnson in Nashville and highly recommend him. He is both skilled and a caring person who prays for the patient before doing the treatment.

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